DANA for Divas: Integrating Technology Into a Diabetes Practice

The sheer volume of devices and apps entering the diabetes market can be daunting for physicians and diabetes educators. To keep up to date with the latest technologies in diabetes, practitioners must sift through numerous press releases, technology and health-care blogs, feedback forums, manuals and webinars, or wait for the next annual health-care tech conference. The selection of appropriate devices and apps for each patient requires time that practitioners do not have, making the integration of diabetes technology into practice difficult.

“Technology is changing very fast and it’s hard to keep up,” says Crystal Broj, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). The AADE conducted a survey within their network of more than 14,000 diabetes educators and found that 93 percent wanted to learn about new diabetes technology. However, 85 percent admitted they did not have the resources to locate the information they needed.1 “This is why we created DANA,” explains Broj.

DANA HomepageWhat is DANA?

Launched on August 6, 2018, DANA [Diabetes Advance Network Access] was designed to provide AADE members with a one-stop site to navigate the plethora of information, news, training, supplies, product reviews, use cases and other resources relating to devices/apps for diabetes and prediabetes.1,2 According to Broj, “DANA makes it easy for diabetes educators to quickly access various resources in one place.”

Integrating diabetes technology into practice

In providing practitioners access to expertly curated information on diabetes technology, DANA can promote the effective integration of devices/apps into clinical practice. Diabetes-related technology such as digital continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), insulin pumps and digital health platforms help patients manage their condition and practitioners to track the patient’s symptoms, diet, lifestyle and medication intake. Specifically, DANA facilitates a health-care provider–patient discussion, enables information searching, teaches optimal health data utilization and sparks practitioner engagement in innovation.

Discussing device options and app reviews

In its Product section, DANA lists over 200 products, including CGMs, blood glucose monitors, pens, infusion sets, medication delivery devices and insulin pumps, outlining their product specifications and manufacturer details.3 Health-care providers can access the site to discuss treatment and management options with a patient. For example, “A practitioner can discuss CGM options by showing them in DANA during their visit,” says Broj.

In addition, diabetes apps focus on different areas of diabetes health — fitness, diet, lifestyle, disease management, or symptom management — and can confuse users.3 Practitioners can use DANA’s App Review section to promote the use of the appropriate app and provide real-time patient assistance on how to use it. “A practitioner can review the apps with patients and even share a link to the review or assist the patient in downloading an app they suggest,” says Broj.

A third-party evaluator, DHX Labs, rates the apps based on the Xcertia [a government and industry collaborative which advocates for rules on mobile health platforms] guidelines. These guidelines make use of more than 150 criteria, including usability, privacy, security and operability.3 “Educators can know exactly how the app they recommend stands up to these guidelines,” says Broj.

DANA ResourcesQuick searches for technology information

Practitioners can utilize DANA whenever they need real-time guidance on making a treatment decision for a patient. According to Broj, “If a health-care provider has a question, they can post it on the DANA discussion board or use the extensive search feature to find the information they need. DANA allows the practitioner to have more up-to-date information for their patients and a place to go when they have a question or are looking for additional options for their patients.”

Practitioners can also leverage the breadth of expert information and opportunities for continuing education that the site offers. DANA has an Education section, where members can access live and on-demand webinars and courses on diabetes and technology.3 “DANA also has technology news from several outlets, including diaTribe and DiabetesMine. The Resources section has over 100 links, articles and peer reviewed resources in a variety of areas,” adds Broj.

Optimizing use of patient data

One of the main benefits of using digital devices in diabetes management is the ability to monitor the patient and gather health data. Practitioners play a critical role in ensuring the data is explained to the patient and properly analyzed to inform on patient’s treatment requirements.1 DANA was specifically created to promote the optimal use of diabetes technology and the health data this generates. “DANA has training and education that dive deep into how to effectively use the data coming out of these devices to drive better outcomes. A practitioner can brush up on a blood glucose meter, for example, before a particular patient enters their office,” shares Broj.

Accessing opportunities to shape technological innovation in diabetes

DANA is a platform where practitioners can engage with the innovative trajectory of technological devices and mobile apps in diabetes care. “Outside of the Product and Education areas, DANA has an Innovation section that has polls and focus groups that practitioners can use to participate in shaping technology,” reveals Broj. Health-care providers and educators can participate in product testing and market research, which enable them to invest time and expertise into discussions that could influence decision-making processes, refine diabetes technology and shape innovation.3

DANA for positive health outcomes

While DANA targets AADE members, its ultimate objective is to drive better health outcomes for people living with diabetes by optimizing technological use and supporting patients. “DANA is a resource to enable practitioners, working in partnership with people with diabetes, to have access to best-in-class information about diabetes technology,” says Broj. “Our goal is to empower collaborative decision-making in the care and management of people with diabetes, leading to positive health outcomes.”

DANA can also boost technological adoption among patients.1 According to Broj, AADE members are more likely to recommend a technology to their patient once they have studied it. With a recent $2.6 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, DANA is set to continue its operations, ensuring that members do not miss out on learning about the technological advancements that could improve their patients’ lives.1,4

Access additional resources and practical information to enhance the care and treatment of your diabetes patients.

About our expert

Nicola DaviesNicola Davies, PhD, health psychologist and author of I Can Beat Obesity! Finding the Motivation, Confidence and Skills to Lose Weight and Avoid Relapse